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Matlock Bath, High Tor and the Colour Works
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On the Derwent, Matlock Bath - High Tor and the Colour Works
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Brunswood Terrace

High Tor from Matlock Bath Station, 1912

The Dale from Long Tor

Matlock Bath Today (4)

The old bridge across the River Derwent that is shown in the picture above was mounted on two large iron poles, much like the one which used to cross the Derwent near the Boat House. It was eventually replaced by the modern colour works bridge which was erected by the Butterley Company[1]. There was a bridge across the river in about 1835[1] (shown on Sanderson's map[2) and it is quite possible the bridge was there for quite a while before then. Mr. Cardin, for example, would have needed a bridge to provide access for visitors to the Side Mine.

Just showing through the trees on the right is the colour works which provided regular, rather than seasonal, employment for locals.

According to Mr. D Palmer Pearson, writing in the early twentieth century, mining operations at the Side Mine finished in 1844 when Mr. Bouthman of Manchester gave up his attempt to unwater the lower reaches of those old workings which reach up towards Starkholmes. The hole at the back of the colour works didn't, it is believed, follow any groove or ore bearing rock but was the means of draining the workings generally and continued for 400 yards. The island on which the colour works stands is composed of the mine waste which Mr. Bouthman extracted (although there must have been something to work from originally). He erected a water wheel of 80 hp, capable of raising 1000 gallons an hour, together with the weir and goit which was lined with clay "brought in boats by the Cromford Canal" - Mr. Pearson doesn't explain, though, how they got over Masson Weir[2].

The land and power source was subsequently taken over by Frederick Stevens to grind barytes for the paint industry and this was a perfect site for that purpose it was as there was both power and there must have been piles of barytes in the old mine hillocks. The site became available just as the paint industry was demanding the cheap alternative to white lead. Mr. Hare (senior), who was the manager at High Tor Colour works in 1969, told Colin Goodwyn that paint works owners were said to raise their hats to piles of barytes in respect and in recognition of the money they made by not using lead[2]! Eric Hare had come to the High Tor Colour Company in 1946 as Works Manager. His responsibilities later extended to include the Via Gellia Colour Company and by the time of his retirement in in the late 1970s he was a Director of the firm[3].

There are several references to the Wheel elsewhere on this web site:
Panorama of Matlock (1827) - see the section on Caverns.
Gem of the Peak (1840) see The north entrance to Matlock Dale | Caverns and Mines in 1840.
Wolley Manuscripts: 6669 ff.256-258 | 6671 ff.310-313.

There is also more on site information about the Colour Works and its owners:
Frederick Stevens was living in the Dale in the 1851 census.
Thomas and Frederick William Stevens are listed in various onsite transcripts of trade directories: White's 1862 Directory | Kelly's 1864 Directory | Kelly's 1876 Directory | Kelly's 1891 Directory.
Kelly's 1895 Directory lists Ginger Edward Stanbridge, barytes & color manufacturer, Matlock Dale.
The 1901 census shows George Henry Key of 3 Midland terrace as manager.
Via Gellia Paint & Colour Co. is listed as the owners of the works in Kelly's 1899 Directory | Kelly's 1908 Directory | Kelly's 1912 Directory | Kelly's 1916 Directory.

One of the Artistic Series, A.P. Co., 9 Bury Court, St. Mary Axe, London, E.C. No.1957. Exact date difficult as the card is not postmarked but first postal date known for their cards is now 1905 (see both Via Gellia, Tufa Cottage on this website and list of postcard publishers elsewhere on the Internet which supplies the date of 1909)
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only

References (coloured hyperlinks are to transcripts elsewhere on this website):

[1] A stereo view of the old colour works bridge can be seen on the page of "Just Dale" images and the Butterley Company's Bridge is shown in an image a little higher up on the same page.

[2] Information supplied and researched by Colin Goodwyn. With very grateful thanks.

[3] Information from Pauline Jordan, with equally grateful thanks.